The last nine days have been a period of…well…let’s call it a “period of adjustment”. Prior to the start of this month, the longest commute that I had was twelve miles…one way. The closer campus was a commute of eight miles…TOTAL. Any given week, I was on campus for four hours in a single day…MAXIMUM. Most of my work took place in front of my computer at home. Then I took a full-time position at the college’s main campus, and my life has been like a snow-globe that’s been shattered. My commute is now 40 miles…one way, through some the shittiest traffic patterns in DFW. I have a huge office (the first ever in my career), a huge desk, and spend nearly my entire day there – thirty-eight hours a week. In my third week of work, I will have worked more hours in less than twenty-one days than I normally worked during a semester as an adjunct instructor in the classroom.
I know, I can hear it through my iMac’s speakers: “Waa, waa, Elf-boy! Suck it up!” But this is not about me whining on about the changes in my daily routine. I knew that this was going to happen the moment I agreed to take the job. What this is, however, is about the adjustments I am having to make to accommodate a very major change in my life. And its not the only adjustment that I will make to my life. Those adjustments will come on a daily basis, but not with the major upheaval that this one has done to me.
I tend to look at things in a manner similar to tossing a stone into the still waters of a pond. The stone, moving through the air, changed the way the air molecules were located between the stone and the water. The change is somewhat minor, at least to our eyes, because we cannot comprehend the ripples that the stone made in its passage from our hand to the surface of the water. We don’t see the air molecules displaced from their current location, as the stone pushed its way through them. We notice the passage of the stone as it passes through the water, because we can physically see the displacement of the water’s volume, as it alters itself in the container – the depression in the land where the water has gathered – the force of the stone’s passage through the is denoted by a splash of water, and the current of ripples moving outwards from the stone’s entry point. If we could see the molecules that comprise the air mass that the stone traveled through on its way to the water mass, we may be able to discern the ripples that the stone created. In fact, if I threw the rock closely past your cheek, you may feel the small current of air that occurs as the rock passes through the air mass near your cheek. Its not readily noticeable, nor does it occur for a long period of time, but it is there nonetheless.
I would posit that the same conclusion can be reached concerning adjustments and choices that you make throughout your life. For instance, this afternoon you decided to eat lunch at a local sub shop. However, thanks to the storm from last night, the electricity at the sub shop has been out all morning, and they are still closed when you arrive for lunch. You see a local hamburger place nearby, and the line is extremely long (since they have electricity working). If you choose to stay in the line, you may be late coming back from lunch, which may force you to miss the 1pm meeting. However, if you skip lunch, you may make the meeting – but your low blood sugars may cost you any concentration you needed to focus on the details of the work project that pertained to you and your department. Your original choice required an adjustment – and each adjustment comes at a potentially serious repercussion. Either choice will cause big ripples – depending on your boss’ demeanor, attitude, and/or mood – or perhaps how many critical details you may miss concerning your department’s work needs.
So, my life has meet a series of these adjustment points – and I am trying all sorts of things to see which adjustments will work best. And as I find one that works, I adjust my daily schedule to meet my needs. I honestly had never considered any of this before…have you??